Integral aid against malnutrition
Berlin / Phnom Penh, 29 September 2017
More efficient and integrated agriculture, protection of nature and resources, income improvements for women and healthier eating habits: Johanniter is helping 45,000 people in two provinces in northeastern Cambodia to become more resilient to global warming and the threat of poverty.
Cambodia's economic upswing in recent years has its winners and losers: in the cities it has led to a significant reduction in poverty. But only one in five people live and work there. The vast majority live in rural areas, where the economic upturn has created problems rather than better living conditions. In remote regions in the north-east of the country, people are increasingly losing their natural resources. Illegal logging and industrial fishing in the rivers, which often uses chemicals, are destroying their livelihoods. This is further intensified by the negative effects of climate change with associated floods, droughts and storms. Cheap imports and mass production are putting traditional agriculture at an economic disadvantage. The future looks dark for many rural communities, where one in seven people is considered undernourished.
Integral agriculture to strengthen communities
Together with our local partner organisation Save Cambodia's Wildlife (SCW), we strengthen families in 38 communities in the north-eastern provinces of Kratie and Stung Treng. This includes training in improved agricultural techniques to increase rice yields by 15 percent. Almost 4000 families are involved in the measures. The cultivation method used here is the System Rice Intensification (SRI), which is also being applied in other regions together with our partner organisation Khmer Community Development. Rice is planted at greater intervals, which strengthens the individual plants and removes fewer nutrients from the soil.
The cultivation of crops will become more diverse, with model farms initially being set up by some farmers. These will serve as a model for other 150 families who do not own their own land. They will be accompanied in the creation of home gardens to enable them to grow their own vegetables and increase food security. In many cases, unbalanced nutrition and the incorrect preparation of food leads to malnutrition. Training and cooking courses on how to handle the products and the teaching of hygiene rules contribute to a healthier diet.
Promotion of own product marketing
In addition, families are supported in improving their income and 460 women in setting up their own businesses. "Social entrepreneurship is important to enable grassroots organizations and communities to stand on their own feet," explains TEP Boonny, Director of SCW. "Examining market demand and producing suitable local products are mutually dependent on each other in order to survive in the long term. Pure charity will not help people here".
Children's eco-clubs and use of renewable energies
Schoolchildren and teachers are involved in 38 eco-clubs to talk about global warming and pollution and to run joint campaigns to improve waste management. For the first time, ten biogas plants will be installed for demonstration purposes in five villages to familiarise the population with the use of renewable energies. The technology will enable families to produce home-made gas from organic household waste and use it for cooking. This saves time, money and electricity and protects the environment, as do 38 energy-saving solar pumps for irrigating the gardens.